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She is ready ~ Jennifer

SheIsReadyJen – Version 4

 

“She is ready to lighten up.” ~Jennifer

 

I tend to take life too seriously, allowing myself to get wrapped up in duties and swept away by tasks.  Since becoming a mother, my days revolve around my children’s needs.  I think about practical matters like food, clothing, safety.  I take care of transportation, activities, and payments due.  But in the process of caring for my little ones, somehow I end up distilling life to absolutes.  I catch myself thinking in black and white.  We’re on time or we’re late.  I’ve succeeded or I’ve failed.  The answer is yes or no.  Clean or dirty.  Off or on.  Right or wrong.

 

Gone are the in-betweens, the grace periods, the grey areas. Where did they go, I wonder?  As best I can tell, they keep getting bumped aside by responsibilities.  Life is still sweet, silly, rewarding, and exciting, but the colors fade from time to time.  That’s when I know I need to lighten up.  And so, when my husband invited me out to the garden, I set the dirty dishes aside.  It was perhaps the hottest day of the summer, above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  It took me a moment to forget about the messes, the baby monitor, the sweat running down my back.  Then I was drawn in by the vivid pinks and purples of the cosmos that my husband plants for me each year.  They’ve been there all summer.  I just hadn’t been paying attention because I was weighed down by everything I thought I should be doing.  Enough of that.  I’m ready to lighten up and enjoy the bright spots of this path I’m on.

 

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She embodied freedom

JulyTriptych2016Website

 

Welcome to July here at She is Three! This month we are focusing on the concept of freedom. Where do you feel it in your body? When do you experience it? What does embodying freedom look like for you? Whether your definition is temporal, spatial, or physical, we hope you’ll join us in exploring this month’s prompt. Take it literally or put a figurative spin on it. Above all, we invite you to visually voice how you embody freedom. Remember to post your self-portraits on Instagram using the hashtags #sheisthreedotcom #sheembodiedfreedom so we can find you!

 

Come by the blog again on the 14th, 21st, and 28th when we share our quotes and the written stories behind our photos. Until then, here’s a little peek at each of us behind the scenes!

 

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7 Days of Spring Fever Self-Portrait Challenge

It seemed the day would never come, but spring is almost here, at last! We had such fun last month during our 7 Days of Love Self-Portrait Challenge that we’ve decided to do it again. This time, we’re hosting the 7 Days of Spring Fever Self-Portrait Challenge! Join us for seven prompts in seven days, starting tomorrow, March 20, 2015.

Tomorrow is not only the vernal equinox, there’s also a solar eclipse and a [new] supermoon, all on the same day! Let’s celebrate those three momentous events together! Post your self-portraits on Instagram using the hashtag #sheisthreedotcom. Write a link to your own blog in the comment section below. Visit us on Facebook. We’re looking forward to seeing you in some form and welcoming this new season together.

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She concealed ~ Jennifer

Sometimes she concealed herself for comfort

“Sometimes she concealed herself for comfort.” ~Jennifer

In many ways, I adore the Internet. Of course it makes ordering anything from books to baby food in the middle of the night a heck of a lot easier, but my gratitude goes much deeper than that. On a very personal level, the Internet opened up a whole new world to me; a place of art, beauty, and bravery. Thanks to online courses and lovely blogs, I’ve found kindred spirits and connected with buried parts of myself. These last few years have been rife with major changes. Some felt like breakdowns, others like breakthroughs. Being able to peel back my layers and document the stages I have gone through in the company of wonderful women has helped me see better on my path, even when my vision was clouded with hormones and headaches.

Sometimes it’s hard to show up and share, but it makes my day each time one of you leaves a comment. Maybe you have felt similar pain or similar joy. Maybe you were having a bad day and my post somehow comforted you or encouraged you. I love the fact that we can live anywhere on this planet and still be connected. At the same time, I feel myself struggling to keep up with the non-stop pace of the Internet. I don’t want to miss out on a new class, or fail to show up for a friend. I want to participate, witness, and support people. I want to keep growing and learning and unfolding. There are tons of beautiful blogs out there with amazing photos and soulful content. There are many fabulous opportunities and programs to sign up for, too. It’s inspiring and uplifting…except when it’s overwhelming. And I do get overwhelmed. As much as I want to be connected, I also need to be offline, in my everyday life of diapers and dishes.

Sometimes I’m so embroiled in what’s happening at home that I can’t muster the energy to get near a computer. Nor should I, for that matter. I want to do more than I realistically have time for. Sometimes I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Sometimes I need silence. Sometimes I don’t want to look in the mirror and see myself, my mistakes, my regrets, my shame. Sometimes it’s just plain easier to conceal what hurts. It may not be right, but it’s reality. Sometimes I need to stand behind the curtain. Sometimes I need privacy to slowly lift a layer of darkness.

I’m still trying to find a balance between being online and being offline. I can’t be both at the same time. No one can. So wherever you are today, in whatever city or country, I hope you can be gentle with yourself. You don’t have to share everything or be everywhere. It’s okay to be human. Sometimes soulwork is solitary work. Other times, it helps immensely to be in the company of creative kindreds. Whether today is a day you choose to conceal or reveal, know that you’re not alone. The invitation is open to show up at She is Three anyday, just as you are.

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She explored

She explored ~ November 2013 triptych

Pictured from left to right:

“She explored faraway cities and rediscovered pieces of herself on unfamiliar streets.” ~Bella
“She explored a new world of wonders.” ~Jennifer
“She explored the peaceful moments before sunrise and the possibilities of her day became clear.” ~Deb

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She whispered ~ Jennifer

She whispered that everything would be okay
“She whispered that everything would be okay.” ~Jennifer

Life has felt very blurry lately. There is so much I need and want to accomplish, but everything seems out of focus. I feel myself withdrawing from a lot of activities simply because my physical and emotional energy is limited. I’ve felt guilty for not being able to keep up, but deep down I know I need to honor what my body is telling me. The final weeks of my third trimester are whizzing by, and I’m craving quiet time at home. I’m taking care of the essentials on my to-do list and then letting the rest go. I’m trying to trust that all will get done in it’s own time. I just want to appreciate these remaining weeks as I prepare to welcome my baby boy. This is a time of great transition.  My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter started nursery school last week, and that milestone was huge. She’s growing and developing so quickly, making new discoveries every day. It feels like she was a baby merely a few months ago, and now it’s almost time for her little brother to join us. I’m having trouble fathoming what life will be like when he arrives. I’m scared and excited at the same time. How will labor be this time around? Will the baby be okay? How will my husband and I manage with two little ones?

I’m full of questions right now. Years ago, whenever I felt nervous and overwhelmed, I’d call my mom and ask her to tell me that everything would be okay. Something about hearing her say those simple words calmed me down. It’s up to me to say that phrase now. On the day I took this photo, I did just that. I stood next to the colorful zinnias my husband had sown from seed, I held my belly and I whispered that everything would be okay.

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She allowed ~ Deb

she allowed...
“She allowed herself to step into the space of her whole being, exposing both rusty edges and shiny bits.” ~Deb

I have been accused of living my life thru rose-colored glasses, just like Pollyanna…
“…living life with unduly cheerful, optimistic, or favorable view of things.”

In fact, I have been ridiculed and insulted by some, saying that I do not live in a realistic world.

So what?
Is that really a bad thing?
I actually find it to be in my favor to adopt this optimistic way of life.

I see silver linings in clouds and lights at the end of dark tunnels.
And yep, my glass is always half full.

So what?

Occasionally I stumble and my vision becomes skewed.
It is inside those times that I have the opportunity to experience the intense pain of heartbreak and disappointment.
I learn and grow, forgive and let go.

I have learned that exposing my salty, rusty edges is equally as important as showing the shiny, cheerful bits of my life.
And here at She is Three, I continue to unravel the layers of my entire being, as I share all of my story with you.

My photo above represents the tangible feeling of leaping from the crusty, harsh surfaces of coral rocks and stepping back into the smooth, cool waters of peace and harmony.

This is my choice.
I allow myself to become whole.

 

On behalf of She is Three, Jennifer is offering a giveaway for one space in my upcoming Mish Mash e-course which beings on September 1st. 
For a chance to win, all you have to do is comment below!
I would love to show up inside your inbox every day in September. 
Here’s a sneak peek of what we will be doing!

Enter your comment by 9am Eastern time on August 30th to be included in the drawing.
The winner will be chosen at random and announced here in this post at noon that same day!

UPDATE:

Jennifer’s daughter has chosen the random winner’s name out of a jar!  The lucky lady who has won a spot in Mish Mash is MARGARET!  Check your email for a message from She is Three!

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She allowed ~ Jennifer

She allowed the warm light to embrace her
“She allowed the warm light to embrace her.” ~Jennifer

I got up around 6:00 the morning I took this photo. My body really wanted to sleep, but my soul needed some time alone outside to bask in the golden light of summer. I never used to be a morning person, but I now find the early hours of the day to be quite sacred. There’s nothing like being the only one awake in a quiet house as the first rays of sunshine find their way through the windows. Heading outdoors just as the dew starts to evaporate and the birds begin flitting about is a rare occasion that I treasure as well.

Although pregnancy is an amazing gift in and of itself, I don’t seem to enjoy the glory or glow of it that so many women describe. This summer has felt like more of a sojourn to a dark swamp than a bright and beautiful season. I hesitate to admit all of this because I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I know I’m lucky to be forty and healthy and pregnant. Extremely lucky. I also know that these hormone levels are overwhelming. I am a sensitive person, yes. In addition to that, impending childbirth seems to reconnect me to a very tender part of myself where the pain of losing my mother resides. Having my daughter in 2011 made me miss my mom even more. Expecting for the second time is proving to be a similar experience. The fourteen year anniversary of her death is just a couple weeks away. Labor Day, of all days. There is still a darkness caused by her loss, but there are also moments I happen to catch glimpses of my mom in my life. Sometimes they’re in the mirror; a quick glance as I brush the hair out of my face or grab the toothpaste from the cabinet. I see her in me: the exhausted mommy who just wants to do a good job. Other times, I recognize her in the face of my daughter, particularly the bow of her lips. I also sense her when I’m outside, surrounded by Queen Anne’s Lace. For some people it’s a weed, but for me it’s her wildflower namesake.  And even though my hair is dark, there are fleeting moments when the sun hits it just right so the strands burn with the same fire as my mom’s red hair. She’s not here in the flesh anymore, but I know her energy is still around, especially when I allow the warm light to embrace me.

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She allowed ~ Bella

she allowed
“She allowed herself the space to believe in her beauty and strength.” ~Bella

“You look beautiful in that dress.”

Those words, or some form of them, were repeated by every woman I encountered while wearing the soft cotton, body hugging, strapless beach dress.

The dress was a daring and bold “look at me” tie-dye color I normally stay away from. When I eyed it on the rack at the store, the first thing I did was feel the material. It was the type of cotton that slipped through my fingers. Thinking it would make for a perfect beach cover up, I took it into the dressing room and tried it on. It fit perfectly like second skin.

Most would consider this situation a win, but I stood there looking at myself for a long time analyzing every reason why I shouldn’t buy this dress.

“You will be welcoming eyes your way when you wear this, you know.”

This was my main worry; that people would look at me. My bust and curves would be right there on display for everyone to stare at and pick apart.

But I couldn’t help that the dress made me feel light and free, like I was floating on a cloud.

I’m 38 years old and I’m tired of the conversations I’m having with myself about how I look or what I should and shouldn’t be wearing.

The (soul) work I’ve been doing for the last five years has taught me that these voices don’t ever truly go away. It takes some major suiting up, as if I was going into combat to silence them. My weapon of choice: kindness.

Kindness. This is what the women in my life have bestowed on me. They look directly into my eyes and tell me I am beautiful in this dress.

I’m beautiful? Me? I don’t look too busty? This color, it’s not too much?

Silence.

“Thank you” I say, and I beam because they’re not talking about the dress and I believe them.

On this day, sitting on this beach, I felt an inner strength I had not known before. It radiated through me, and I knew in that moment that something had shifted in the way I see myself.

I allow myself the space to believe, down to my core, that I am worthy of their kindness and that I need to extend that same luxury to myself.

I didn’t buy the dress because I loved it.

I bought it because I feel beautiful when I wear it.

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She allowed

She allowed
Pictured from left to right:

“She allowed herself the space to believe in her beauty and strength.” ~Bella
“She allowed the warm light to embrace her.” ~Jennifer
“She allowed herself to step into the space of her whole being, exposing both rusty edges and shiny bits.” ~Deb

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